God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.
How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings,
To eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.
You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.
Keep on loving your friends; do your work in welcoming hearts.
Those who have had dealings with the one true God understand why adjectives of cosmic proportion are used to describe Him. While the psalmist’s words might seem like overstatement to some, the truth is they are anything but. To even approximate the granduer and majesty of God, human imagination and language must be stretched to their limits. I love the psalms for this reason. They are not theologically precise discourses regarding the ways of God. They are more like convulsions, spilling out the heart’s deepest longings and its declarations of who God has become to the writer.
Do you think its possible, having been created in God’s image, that there are longings awaiting to find expression within every soul? I have speculated this is so and that those who are fortunate enough to never succeed in blunting this primal hunger of longing are referred to by Jesus as the poor in spirit to whom belongs the Kingdom of heaven.
I have also speculated that in cultures such as ours where our affluence and technology create endless distractions and the time to indulge ourselves in them that any latent hunger is blunted if not killed off altogether. We are the wealthiest, busiest, best fed, most entertained culture that has ever lived. We are also one of the most ungrateful, impatient, unfulfilled, angry and empty ones. Why is this? How could this be?
We are told that in our stillness we shall discover God for ourselves. We are told to only dwell on things that are true and lovely and worthy of praise. We are told to watch over our hearts with all diligence because that is where life is inaugurated. We disregard these most fundamental of commands at our own peril. While all of God’s promises are amen and amen, I feel as though in regards to knowing God there is an “oh no” as well as an “amen”.
Learning to respond with an amen to our inner longings will facilitate our growing experience with the radical extremes of God’s love. Having eaten and drank our fill from God, who is Himself our abundant provision, is evidence of our delight and acceptance of the invitations He has been sending out. Our ongoing encounter with Him will facilitate our entrance into the ultimate event, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Guest’s lamps will be full and they will be welcomed at the door. Those who never slowed down, whose hearts were seduced by the spirit of the age; who could neither bear silence nor stillness, who never learned to stop and fill their own lamps, will find themselves without sufficient oil to finish their journey. This is the saddest story I encounter in scripture.
I rarely lean upon fear as a motivator. However since reading Neal Postman’s, Entertaining Ourselves to Death, I have had some fear and trembling in my soul as I have been working this topic out in my own life. It is currently very out of vogue to have an “oh no” response to anything since it might throw us back into the dark ages of legalism and quench the grace of God and the liberty it affords us.
Can we have an ongoing experience with the meteoric love of God through the keeping of a list of thou-shalt-nots? I don’t think so. Can we have an ongoing experience with His cosmic goodness by ignoring His warnings and admonitions to live a circumspect life? I don’t think so. So, are we stuck? I don’t think so.
I believe there is a pathway in the Spirit where our obedience is no longer thought of as a means toward some end. While walking in the Spirit, obedience is merely the natural byproduct of a trusting and loving heart. Thou-shalt-nots create a tight-rope that the saint must balance upon where his energies are consumed with sin management and the pursuit of holiness. While this may sound noble, this has not projected any complimentary light on the Good News of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, those who walk in the Spirit travel in a wide open space where all things are permissable yet are not all profitable. They do not convey to the world that their’s is a white-nuckled existence where their well being is determined by their own discipline. Instead, often in small and simple ways, with their joy and liberty, they convey they have been caught up into something cosmic in scale. And within these kingdom citizens, whose hearts have been liberated from any thou-shalt-nots, many will find safety and refuge.
Father, teach us to nurture longing and may it grow full-term within us to be birthed as the consumation our hearts were created for. May our hearts display the contentment of those being watched over by the Lord of Creation and the satisfaction of those who sup with the King of Kings. Oh God, in simplicity and rest may our lives eloquently state just how exquisite is Your love! Amen.